Six Unique Places in Japan to Visit on Your Holidays

Dec 28, 2017

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Whether you’re an expat living in Japan or a tourist who’s already ticked off the major sights, you might be looking for some unique destinations to visit on your next holiday. From local arts and history to natural landscapes and wildlife hotspots, here are six new destinations to discover.

Tsukiyono Vidro Park(月夜野びーどろパーク)

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Tsukiyono Vidro Park


This handmade glass factory and park in Gunma Prefecture’s town of Minakami is where visitors can learn about all aspects of glasswork. Take a guided tour to witness expert artisans at work, then try making your very own glassware using sand-blasting and glassblowing techniques.

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Tsukiyono Vidro Park


You can purchase a range of glassware made on site in their souvenir shop, including table ware, decorative items, and gifts. There’s also a museum which details the history of glassware, with items dating from the 2nd millennium BC. Then relax in Tsukiyono Vidro Park’s gourmet restaurant which boasts an impressive collection of Czech style beers to accompany authentic Japanese dishes such as udon, soba, and rice bowls.

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Tsukiyono Vidro Park


Price: Sand-blasting classes start from 870JPY per person while glassblowing classes are from 2,160JPY per person.

Opening hours: Museum and trial workshops are open from 9:00am to 5:00pm, with glassworks tours taking place between 8:05am and 4:50pm

Address: 737-1, Gokan, Minakami-machi Tone-gun, Gumma

Oya History Museum(大谷石地下採掘場跡)

Showcasing the history and mining operations of Oya stone, this museum is situated near Utsunomiya which is around an hour north of Tokyo. It incorporates the original underground quarry site which was excavated between 1919 and 1986 and remains at a constant temperature of 8℃ throughout the year.

During the war it was used as a secret underground factory, then as a storage place for government rice. Today it features not only a modern museum building with items related to the mining of Oya stone, but also functions as an unique art exhibition space, theater, and concert venue.


Cost: 700JPY for adults and 350JPY for children

Opening hours: 9:30am to 5:00pm daily

Address: Oya machi, 909 Utsunomiya-shi, Tochigi


Dogashima is a scenic coastline in the Nishi-Izu area of Shizuoka, with beautiful views across Suruga Bay, picturesque offshore islands, and caves to explore. At low tide, a strip of land connects the mainland with Denbei, Nakano, Okinose and Taka Islands, allowing visitors to cross on foot to these idyllic destinations.

But there are also high-speed boat cruises to tour this rugged area and take in the views across to Mount Fuji. The most popular landmark is the Tensoudou blue cave which is a designated national monument. Sunlight shines through a large opening in the center of the cave, creating a spectacular ambiance. You can also cruise along Dogashima’s coastline to the hot springs and orchid gardens at Orchid Resort Dogashima and to the Peer Dome Teso where the Izu peninsula’s ecosystems are showcased in a large, dome-like theater.


Cost: Boat cruises cost from 1,200JPY to 2,300JPY for adults and are half-price for children.

Opening hours: 8:15am to 4:30pm

Address: 2060, Nishina, Nishi-izu-cho, Kamo-gun, Shizuoka

Aqua Park Shinagawa(エプソン アクアパーク)

Situated within Shinagawa’s Prince Hotel, this Aqua Park combines marine life with cutting-edge audiovisual displays to create an aquarium like no other. Experience its mesmerizing jellyfish tank, walk through a tunnel where manta rays and sharks cruise above, and witness its unique dolphin performance in an exhilarating water, light, and sound show.

Get up close to marine life in its touch tanks, observe penguins, seals and otters in their natural habitat, and see unique jungle wildlife such as capybaras in the Aqua Jungle. The on-site cafe is backed by a tank filled with luminescent coral and there’s even a merry-go-round illuminated by LED lights!


Cost: 2,200JPY for adults, 1,200JPY for elementary/middle school students and 700JPY for children over four.

Opening hours: 10am to 10pm daily (9am to 10pm during August, July 16-18 and April 30-May 7)

Address: 4 Chome−4−10−30, Takanawa, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to

Maglev Exhibition Center(山梨県立リニア見学センター)

The Linear Chuo Shinkansen is set to be the fastest bullet train in the world, with a speed of around 500 kilometers/hour. While its operation isn’t scheduled until 2027, you can see it being tested with your own eyes and learn all about its construction at the Maglev Exhibition Center in Yamanashi Prefecture.

Discover superconductive linear mechanisms and the grand plan for the Linear Chuo Shinkansen through scale models and interactive exhibits. This is the only facility in Japan where you can observe trial runs and an exciting look into the future of transport.


Cost: 420JPY for adults, 310JPY for high school students, 200JPY for junior high/elementary school students, and free for preschoolers.

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm daily (last admission at 4:30pm)

Address: 2381, Ogatayama, Tsuru-shi, Yamanashi

Todoroki Valley(等々力渓谷)

Nestled within the urban jungle of Tokyo’s Setagaya ward is the tranquil oasis of the Todoroki Valley. It features a picturesque walking trail which follows the Yazawa River through a forested valley to reach the atmospheric Todoroki Fudo Temple.

The start of the walking trail is located just a short distance from Todoroki Station and extends 1.2 kilometers to the temple. It winds past the Chigo Daishi Mieido shrine with a sculpture of priest Kobo Daishi who had a vision inspiring him to explore this valley and its natural spring waters.

You’ll then reach the Fudo Waterfall which has long been used for ritual purification and is still considered sacred by many. Steps lead from the waterfall to the Todoroki Fudo Temple where a bronze dragon breathes purifying water. Its history dates back to the Heian era and it still serves as a training and meditational spot for the Shinto ritual purification practice of misogi.


Cost: Free

Opening hours: 24 hours a day

Address: 1 Chome-22 Todoroki, Setagaya-ku, Tōkyō-to


Tourist Note JAPAN



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